Preview: Italy vs Ecuador – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

Preparations for the 2024 European Championship pick up steam as Italy and Ecuador go head-to-head at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Gli Azzurri started their United States mini-tour with a win against Venezuela on Thursday and will be keen to continue in a similar vein against another South American side. 

Goals from Mateo Retegui on either side of halftime inspired Italy to a hard-earned 2-1 win against La Vinotinto. However, the reigning European champions’ performance flattered to deceive. Luciano Spalletti’s men were lucky not to fall behind after just three minutes as Salomon Rondon missed from the spot.

Retegui’s double helped Italy extend their unbeaten run to three matches (W2, D1) after capping off a successful Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a scoreless draw against Ukraine. That result ensured a runner-up finish behind England in Group C, sending the Ukrainians into the qualification playoffs. 

On the other hand, Ecuador’s warm-up campaign for the 2024 Copa America commenced with a 2-0 triumph against Guatemala during the week. Getting familiar with the United States is imperative for La Tri, considering they’ll be out to make a standout achievement in the upcoming tournament staged by the North American country.

New manager Felix Sanchez, who took charge of the team after the 2022 World Cup, has done an excellent job, losing just two of his 11 games at the helm (W7, D2). However, the Ecuadorians must punch above their weight to maintain that momentum in New Jersey.

Match Preview


With only three exhibition matches penciled in before their Euro 2024 curtain-raising fixture against Albania, there’s no margin for error. Spalletti’s men must build confidence after missing out on the Qatar showpiece as they aim to become the first team since Spain to defend the Euro crown.

Italy have proved well-versed in beating lower-ranked nations. Since the start of 2023, they’ve gone unbeaten in all seven internationals as pre-match favorites (W5, D2), netting multiple goals in each triumph. But the last time they faced Ecuador in a friendly, it didn’t go as planned, with the two sides sharing the spoils in 2005. 


Argentina and Australia are the only nations to have defeated Ecuador under Sanchez’s stewardship. Meanwhile, La Tri have held the likes of Mexico, Japan, and the Netherlands winless since September 2022 (D3), suggesting another positive result against the more esteemed Italians is not beyond them. 

However, it’s been a while since Ecuador last won a game as betting outsiders, beating Chile 2-0 on the road in 2021. Perhaps a run of four clean sheets in the build-up to this match could help Sanchez’s team buck that trend, not least because Colombia and Chile were among the sides fended off by the Ecuadorians during that sequence. 

Team News

Francesco Acerbi has had to withdraw from the squad following accusations of racism, while Bryan Cristante is out due to a back problem. Italy will probably line up in a 4-3-3, as they did against Venezuela, but Spalletti could change several players, with Giacomo Raspadori likely to take Retegui’s place in attack.

Ecuador will probably rely on veteran striker Ener Valencia to lead the line, with Chelsea-bound Kendry Paez likely to be La Tri’s driving force in the midfield alongside the most expensive player in Premier League history, Moises Caicedo. 

Italy vs Ecuador Potential Lineups

Italy (3-4-2-1): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Gianluca Mancini, Alessandro Bastoni; Matteo Darmian, Nicolo Barella, Jorginho, Federico Dimarco; Lorenzo Pellegrini, Federico Chiesa; Giacomo Raspadori.

Ecuador (4-2-3-1): Alexander Dominguez; Angelo Preciado, Felix Torres, Robert Arboleda, Piero Hincapie; Carlos Gruezo, Moises Caicedo; Angel Mena, Kendry Paez, Jeremy Sarmiento; Ener Valencia.

Italy vs Ecuador Prediction

With both sides keen to avoid defeat, a low-scoring theme could be in store, as has been the case in both previous meetings between Italy and Ecuador. Though Gli Azzurri can’t afford to underestimate their opponents, they should still have the edge in this fixture as we back them to register another morale-boosting victory.

Prediction: Italy Win

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